TODAY   |  April 10, 2013

N. Korea expected to launch missiles this week

NBC’s chief Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski reports on the military’s latest intelligence on North Korea’s possible missile strike plans, saying U.S. military officials are “concerned” about where the missiles will be aimed.

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>>> there is new word that north korea appears closer to carrying out a missile test. overnight, south korea 's defense ministry says it appears preparations have now been completed. nbc's jim miklaszewski is at the pentagon. good morning to you. we're hearing this from south korean officials. are folks at the pentagon confirming a missile is loaded, fueled and ready to go?

>> matt, u.s. military and intelligence officials are highly confident that north korea will launch one if not two of these musudan medium-range missiles, probably within the next several days. the problem is they don't know exactly when, and in terms of how long it takes to prep this missile , it almost takes no preparations. they're on portable launchers. they can easily be moved about. in fact, intelligence lost sight of those two missiles for at least a couple of days now, so as one official put it, look, they open the graarage door, roll them out and fire them. the whole process could take less than 30 minutes .

>> the big question, where does it head once it's launched. in the ocean is an act of defiance. if it heads near a populated area that's an act of war .

>> that's why military officials are so concerned. we have a couple of guided missile destroyers that can track the missile 's flight and should know relatively soon almost immediately after the launch exactly where and how far this missile could go. now if the missile is going to head toward or two missiles are going to head toward open waters, the u.s. military will make no attempts to shoot them down, even if they fly directly over japan, but if there's an indication they are headed inward to one of the u.s. allies, south korea or japan, or even if the missile suddenly veers wildly out of control and they have no idea where it's going, that's when the u.s., those u.s. destroyers could launch their own missiles and try to take them down, matt.

>> clearly a tense situation. jim miklaszewski at the pentagon this morning as always thank you.